OTR ReMoulds The Next Generation
OTR introduce multi-purpose remoulds that offer new-tyre qualities and characteristics
The current upward pressure on new-tyre prices resulting from recent sharp increases in manufacturers’ raw material costs means that earthmover tyre users may soon be coming under even greater pressure to maximize the value of their tyre purchases. This, combined with the ever-increasing cost of disposing of used earthmover tyres, means that spreading the initial investment in a new, premium-quality tyre over two or more lives makes sound financial and operational sense, say earthmover retread specialists OTR Tyres Ltd.
‘We want customers to realize the value that they have in their used casings, because a premium-brand tyre that has been well looked after is virtually guaranteed to provide a second, and possibly even a third, working life,’ said OTR’s managing director, Chris Skelton.
OTR have recently strengthened their commitment to reducing running costs for earthmover tyre users by introducing a new generation of quality remoulds for articulated dumptrucks and wheel loaders. Manufactured using state-of-the-art equipment and materials, the company’s new ReMould tyres are believed to be the fastest-selling new earthmover tyre product in the UK.
Since their introduction last year, production has risen steadily, overtaking the output OTR’s of existing ‘smooth and groove’ retreads to such an extent that an average of 100–120 ReMoulds are now leaving the company’s Alfreton manufacturing facility every month. ‘ReMoulds are clearly the fastest-selling new earthmover tyre product in the UK at the moment,’ commented Mr Skelton.
After intensive international research into remould tyre manufacture, OTR have invested more than £500,000 in the most advanced equipment and the best processes and materials available to produce a multi-purpose remould tyre with new tyre-qualities and characteristics. The manufacturing process mirrors new-tyre production using new synthetic rubber compounds and quality used casings.
Supplied by TRM (Tyre Retreading Machinery) of Italy, OTR’s first ReMould press was installed at Alfreton in April 2003, with the second unit up and running two months later. The two machines currently produce four of OTR’s core earthmover sizes — RTDN 23.5R25, 26.5R25 and 29.R25, and RTH 20.5R25 — using interchangeable mould sections for the different tread patterns. Two sizes are produced on each press, with production changeovers taking place approximately every two weeks. Stocks of the four sizes currently produced are held at each OTR depot.
As with all OTR retread tyres, every potential ‘second-life’ tyre that arrives at Alfreton is rigorously tested using the company’s unique ultrasonic scanning system to check its integrity. If necessary, suitable casings are cleaned and repaired before being buffed down to precisely controlled casing dimensions to ensure that they retain original new-tyre characteristics and consistency of performance.
After the tyre surface has been treated new tread rubber is applied. Tread rubber compounds are constantly evolving and OTR’s ReMould process uses the latest cut-resistant synthetic rubbers. Such compounds are well suited to use on earthmover tyres destined for operation in the UK, where the heat-resistant benefits offered by natural rubber compounds are less important.
Once prepared, the tyre is placed in one of the new, fully automated, state-of-the-art mould presses for vulcanization. The steam-heated curing/moulding process takes place at a temperature of 140°C with the casing inflated within the mould to a pressure of around 15 bar. Each tyre takes approximately 5h to cure and the end result is a ReMould that has the appearance, quality, integrity and performance characteristics of a new radial tyre.
Commenting on the new process, Chris Skelton said: ‘Customers want our tyres to look and perform like new tyres but with all the financial and environmental benefits of a retread. Our new OTR ReMoulds do just that, giving them the opportunity to purchase the best product available at reduced cost.’
Although full performance results will not become clear for another year or two when the first ReMoulds start to wear out, Mr Skelton says he is extremely pleased with the initial positive feedback from customers and his engineers in the field.
‘The quality and performance of OTR ReMoulds has exceeded all our prior expectations and early indications are that they compare very favourably against premium new-tyre performance,’ he said.
‘UK markets are now catching up with Europe and North America in terms of retreading, and with the launch of our new ReMould product we hope to significantly increase our share of the replacement tyre market.’